Tips for the contact lens virgin

Wearing contact lenses for the first time?

So you’ve finally gathered up your courage and decided that you can and will put something in your eye on a daily basis. For those of you who don’t shiver at the thought, consider yourself lucky, it takes guts to work through those first feelings of aversion. In any case, you’re there: the optometrist examined your eye, prescribed your contact lenses, and now you bought a whole apothecary worth of solutions and containers. Even if you never cringed at the thought of touching your eye, learning to put in contact lenses on your own can be challenging if not frustrating even. So here are some tips to help you start this experience a bit more smoothly.

Wearing contact lenses for the first time

Contact lenses like it clean

When you met with your optometrist, they put in the trial lens for you. Well, now you’re on your own. It is not rocket science though and like many other people wearing contact lenses, you’ll soon have incorporated this to your daily routine. But for the first few weeks it might take a bit of effort and more time, so make sure, you’re not in a rush, when dealing with this.

It’s ever so important to keep your hands clean and anything else that touches your eye. So make sure to wash your hands and do wash off all the soap! If you want to squeeze lemon to your tea or for some reason have the urge to peel onions, do it after you put in your contact lenses. You’ll never forget once you made that mistake, so be smarter then I was.. I mean my friend, my roommate from collage. Anyway, keep your hands clean, you might even open the container and the solution before washing up to avoid unnecessary contacts.

Wash your contact lenses in the palm of your hand. Don’t spare the solution. This is not the time to cut your budget, your hands are supposed to be soaking by the time you completely washed your first lens. Give it a nice rinse, then rub it gently in circles.

Are your contact lenses inside out?

It will take some practice to spot the difference, but believe me there is a difference. If you put in your contact lenses while they’re inside out, you’ll feel an uncomfortable twinge every time you blink. So at the latest, you’ll know once you put them in. However there is a way to tell even before wearing them. Put your lens on your fingertip and raise it to your eye level. If the U shape is tilting outwards, the lens is inside out. Your contact lenses are supposed to follow the shape of the eye, so if they have a small edge, like an upside down skirt or a little bell, it’s very likely they’re inside out.

Putting in your contact lenses will take practice, and aside from learning the correct hand position, there is not much to tell. Be patient, it will take a while. As frustrated as you might be, try not to tear the lens, as it will irritate your eye and cause pain if you wear it that way. Not to discourage, but taking out your contact lenses is a much harder task, granted that you’re usually also a lot more tired, by the time your get to that routine in your day.

Putting contact lenses in and out

Putting contact lenses in and out

It is a good idea to always start with the same lens and always have just one of them in front of you. You’ll be doing this half asleep as well in the coming months and none of the contact lenses are marked with a big R sign for right eye. It’s easy to confuse them, so just stick to one at a time.

Place the lens on your index finger. Pull down your lower eyelid with your middle finger and stop blinking. Don’t even think about blinking. You can use your other hand to hold your upper eyelid still if necessary. Once you feel the lens sticking to your eye, don’t shut your eyes rapidly. Just slowly close your eyes, gently opening and closing a few times to let it adjust. You can try rolling it slowly, looking up and down afterwards to see if it really stuck. Should you feel a bit of pain, you might have something stuck underneath it. Make a mental note that the contact lenses need to be cleaned more thoroughly next time and take it out. Clean it. Try again.

Taking them out is a bit more troublesome. Pulling your lower eyelid the same way as before, try to pull the lens off of your pupils and gently pinch it to make it fold. Emphasis on gently. Doing this with raptor nails is extremely difficult even for advanced lens wearers, so just cut your nails. You don’t want to tear the lens and definitely don’t want to scar your eye. If the lens won’t fold, your eye might be dried out. Try adding Systane Eye drops and wait a bit for it to take effect. This does take some getting used to, as you need to make the lens fold in order to have something to pull at. Stay calm and assign enough time.

When putting them away, make sure you exchange the solution in the container and don’t mix the lenses up. It is important to keep them wet all the time and water is not a good substitute. The solution imitates the eye water, and keeps the lens material flexible, while helping it breath. This makes it much more comfortable when wearing, so don’t shy away from using solution as much as possible. There is no harm in overdoing it, save for your expenses.